Inside Athena: Hospice Nurse Supports Patients and Educates Staff

Inside Athena: Hospice Nurse Supports Patients and Educates Staff

FARMINGTON, C.T. – When you walk into Kim Temple’s office, you’ll see a plate of ‘sherbet lollies’ for people to enjoy, inspired by the PBS show “Call the Midwife.”

The show is centered around healthcare professionals in the 1950s, who provide care to others, and so is Temple. She is the quality assurance and performance improvement nurse for Athena Home Health & Hospice. She reviews patient admissions and discharge documents to ensure patients qualify and continue to qualify for hospice services through Medicare.

“I like the structure of this job. I know what I’m looking for, I know what I have to find,” she said.

The RN also likes being able to educate employees on proper documentation as well as the structure of the job.

She was an LPN for 29 years and later pursued her RN. Her career in healthcare has taken her to many different avenues including home care, nursing homes, and now hospice.

“I had just graduated high school and it was, ‘What career path are you going to take?'” she said, adding healthcare seemed like a natural fit. “I was always one that wanted to take care of everybody.”

She’s been with Athena for five years. Sheriden Woods Health Care Center in Bristol was her first stop as a night supervisor before transitioning to Countryside Manor of Bristol to serve as the Director of Staff Development and then Infection Control Nurse. She joined Athena Home Health & Hospice a year and a half ago.

To work in hospice, she notes you have to have the heart for it. Team members work closely with patients and their loved ones in difficult times. Through that, Temple has found the support hospice services offer can help a family through the challenge.

“We have great chaplains. Our volunteer coordinator is amazing, she’s got volunteers all over the place now. Our nurses are great. Our aides are fantastic. It’s a good team,” Temple said. “I know that we’re supporting our patients even though I’m not physically in the field.”

Social workers are also in field providing social, emotional and mental support for the patients and families as well, Temple said.

Both of her parents were on hospice before their passing and the extra support her family received then has continued to inspire her now.

An instructor once told her she would make a great hospice nurse while connecting with a hospice patient’s family member over butterflies and how many believe it is a loved one coming to visit.

Temple is proud of the team she works with because of the extra steps they take, such as stopping to grab a milkshake for a patient, and the continued bereavement support offered for more than a year after a patient has passed.

Her message to those interested in pursuing healthcare is to explore all the avenues offered such as hospitals, nursing homes, and hospice.

While she notes her two sons and four grandkids are the “light of her life,” the work she does for her patients and their loved ones can surely be seen as a light of its own.

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June 6, 2024 A Healthier Approach To Caring, Inside Athena